There is a cliché that says there are six million ways to die. Have you heard it? I’m not sure of the veracity of such a statement, but even if that were true, that doesn’t concern me as much as how many opportunities there are to die. Regardless of the innumerable ways a person can die, the more sobering thought that should grip us is that every second that passes, and approaches, was/is another opportunity to pass away. Let me put this into perspective in a couple of ways.
If you drive, how many intersections do you cross while you drive? Ever counted? Have you ever thought about a drunk driver, a phone texter, or just a person not paying attention, running that red light, slamming into you, and killing you? Every intersection is another probability for that.
How about this. You are at work, at home, or anywhere else, and you have a brain aneurism, or a heart attack, or some other bodily organ fail on you, which costs you your life. Have you ever wondered how something like that can hit, literally, at any second? With six millionish ways to die, the probabilities that something outside of you, or inside of you, can take you out is absolutely flooring when you think about that reality. But, once again, the ways you can die is not as frightening as to how often that opportunity presents itself. Here is another perspective that I hope will rock your thinking. Since I am going to die at any time (whenever my time comes), I am going to use the smallest, most comprehensible measurement of time to show you how many opportunities I have personally had to die – the second.
There are 60 seconds in a minute. Multiply 60 seconds by 60 minutes and you have 3,600 seconds in an hour. Multiply 3,600 by 24 hours and you get 86,400 seconds in a day. Now, multiply 86,400 by 365.24 days in a year, and you end up with 31,556,736 seconds in a year. Finally, I am 32 years old to date (not counting the days that have passed since my birthday), which means that since my birth, I have had 1,009,815,552+ opportunities in my lifetime to die! And let’s not forget the fact that I could have died in the womb, either by abortion or miscarriage.
When you think about this number, I have soared well above 1 billion in opportunities to expire from the Earth. With all the different ways I could die and all the opportunities that will make that a reality, it is truly a miracle I am still alive! And that is the point I am trying to make. The only reason why any of us are alive for any amount of time on this Earth is simply by the grace of God. Not only because life in and of itself is a precious miracle that can only come about by the mighty and creative power of God, but also because the Bible says that we deserve death because we are sinful at conception.
Psalm 51:5 says, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.”
Romans 5:12 also points out, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned…”
The fact that we die is a testimony to our sinful nature. To make matters worse, as we grow old, the Bible teaches us that we choose sin over God because of our nature, and do not desire to please Him (John 3:19; Romans 3:12), thus is the reason why His wrath abides on us (Ephesians 5:6). Nevertheless, just reading this is a testimony to the graciousness of God upon you in that you have not yet died.
Moses prays to God in asking Him in Psalm 90:12 to “teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom. In essence, we are to contemplate the short amount of time we have on the Earth so that we may gain a heart of wisdom. The Bible teaches that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge (Proverbs 1:7; 9:10), and that in departing from sin we gain understanding (Job 28:28). In order for us to realize the truth concerning how frail we are, and how susceptible we are to die at any second, it is important that we contemplate death and how imminent it really is. More than that, we must contemplate death in relationship to what God says about it. Not our Grandparents or parents, or our friends, co-workers, or mentors. And not Islam, Buddhism, Roman Catholicism, Mormonism, or Atheism, but God’s Word (all 66 books of the Bible).
The bad news is that many of you who will read this will decide to reject the gift of everlasting life presented to you by Christ through the gospel. Many will take every breath given to them by God and will continue to life every second as they please without regard for the One who gave them life. It doesn’t matter what sin it is, God must judge those that break His laws.
The good news is that Jesus Christ died in our place, took our sin upon Himself, endured the wrath of God, and rose from the dead, defeating death, making a way from those who repent and believe to be saved. Even though we will die one day, the fact that Christ rose from the dead tells us there is a resurrection coming! Some will rise to everlasting life, others to everlasting condemnation (John 5:29). If you trust Him to save you from your sin, He will change your nature and give you a new heart with new desires. You will no longer desire to live in sin, but will want to love and obey Him because of Who He is!
Every second that ticks away is another second you can never get back. Every second approaching is another opportunity to die and meet your Maker. After that, eternity awaits you. Don’t waste any more time! Thrust yourself at the feet of Jesus and cry out for mercy because your sins against Him. He is gracious, and will forgive you if you are humble and broken. Trust in him while you are still given a second to do so. One day, that will not be the case.